Parents of the yet-to-be-released 112 girls kidnapped from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State have said they want to see their missing daughters before they die.
Since the abduction of their daughters by the Boko Haram insurgents loyal to Abubakar Shekau, some of the parents have died of natural causes and others due to depression.
Those still alive said they were optimistic their daughters were alive and called on the Nigerian government to rescue them.
It is exactly seven years today (Wednesday) when Boko Haram terrorists stormed GGSS Chibok on April 14, 2014, forced 276 girls into a truck and moved towards the Sambisa Forest.
While some of the girls hung unto tree branches on the way to the forest and thereafter found their ways back home, others were not so lucky.
However, after the escape of a few and the release of over 100 through negotiations over time, most of the over 107 of the Chibok girls that have been reunited with their families are still struggling to get back on their feet.
Even though a handful of them who were taken to the United States of America (USA) have completed their university education, most of those enrolled in private schools in Nigeria have yet to pass their Senior Secondary School Examination (SSCE).
By April 14, 2016, two years after the mass abduction, the Chibok Parents Association had already lost 17 members, most of whom died in circumstances related to depression after waiting for years without seeing their missing daughters or any tangible news about them.
That was the second anniversary when government officials, parents and activists came together to commemorate the incident in the school where it happened.
One of the parents, Bulama Jonah, whose 18-year-old daughter, Amina, was among the abducted Chibok girls told Daily Trust that he prayed to live and see the return of his daughter, lamenting that it was tragic for parents to die without seeing their children.
According to him, 17 parents had died since the incident and many others were sick. He, therefore, appealed to the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to do more in its efforts to defeat Boko Haram and rescue their children.
He added that families were in confusion in the absence of any communication from the government on the whereabouts of the girls. Reading out from his old pocket notebook in which he recorded important dates and events since the abduction, including their visit to President Muhammadu Buhari, Jonah gave the name of 15 out of the 17 deceased parents.
They are Stover Mainta, Mainta Yahi, Mutah Sakwa, Haruna Thilaimakalama, Watsai Papu, James Bello, Usman Uffa, Nuhu Mutah, Musa Higwar, Mutah Haruna, Solomi Yama, Mrs. William Askira, Ali Nkiki, Mary Paul Lalai and Malam Koji.
The remaining two died recently and he was yet to ascertain their names.
“If the government had responded in time, our daughters would have been saved. The United States had spotted 80 girls during the last administration, why did the government fail to rescue them. We, therefore, call on the president to step up search for these innocent girls.
“We heard that (former President Olusegun) Obasanjo, at a point said many of the girls were pregnant and recently, we heard he concluded that the girls were dead and could not be found,” he stated.
Musa, whose daughter was 18 years old at the time of the abduction said life had never been the same.
“It is always better for children to bury their parents and not the other way round. Sadly, our predicament is worse because we are not even sure if our daughters are alive. Assuming we saw their dead bodies and bury them, we would have carried on with our lives.
“I always dream that my daughter is back and pray the federal government will rescue them before we die,” he said.